Dear J.K. Rowling,
I'm writing you a letter that I know you will never ever read, because I have a blog, and ravenous blog readers like things like this. Also because I've wanted to do this for a while. I picked you as my letter recipient for the obvious reason, this being that you're my top writing idol, which makes you pretty much my top idol period. I'm a novelist, like you, and I write young adult and middle grade fantasy and science fiction. In the realm of children's fantasy, I consider your Harry Potter series to be the ultimate work, and so I work every day to come to your level, though I know I'll never make it there.
I got into Harry Potter in about fourth grade. I'd been avoiding it up until then because I have this issue called BOOK SNOBBERY. Well, hopefully, I don't have it anymore, but I did then. It was over summer, probably 2003 or so, and my cousins on my dad's side were having a Harry Potter first movie year-ago release party or something like that. I kind of got roped into watching that movie... and I fell in love.
My apologies for falling for the movie before the book. That's what I get for being a snob.
Of course, once I read what of the series was out at that point, I just fell harder. Pretty quickly I was going to midnight releases, movie premieres, Harry Potter parties, freaking out over trailers, and being addicted to MuggleNet. Harry Potter is just powerful like that. Through Harry Potter, I learned literary analysis, book prediction, and most of all, my skill with figuring out romances, all things which have driven my writing and reading since.
I was already trying to write novels when I read Harry Potter, but it inspired me through the years to come closer into epic fantasy. There's nary a thing I don't admire with your skill. You know how to worldbuild incredibly. Children and adults everywhere get the feeling they could live in the world of Hogwarts every time they read your series. I want to live there, or, at least, to know even more about it. And I could, because you know everything, even the stuff you haven't written about. I can't think of a single other author with that skill.
Writing takes work. Some of writing is talent; more is disposition (ie, a stubborn will). Luck factors in when it comes to publishing, but I haven't figured that out yet, obviously. However, right on top of all that is the development of skill. There are so many areas in novel writing to master. Talent comes in here a bit--some people have a natural ability in some of those skill areas. Generally, though, you need to find a way to learn these skill areas yourself, so you can become a truly great writer. So how do you do that?
Sometimes, this can be tedious. But most of the time, if you really love writing, practicing your writing skills is actually fun. I mean, it's writing (and sometimes editing, but you're a big person, you can handle that). So write, write, write. Write all kinds of writing. Write every day. JUST WRITE.
Of course, there's more to it than just that, though that's a good 75% of the effort. On top of just writing, you have to focus on discovering the parts of writing where you need to improve, and then actually improving. So here's my three-step look at how to improve your writing skills.
I shouldn't write two posts in one day, but I just finished reading The Fault in Our Stars, that new book by John Green that everyone's freaking out about, and I had to tell the world. Because it is a beautiful thing, a beautiful, beautiful thing, and it made me cry, and I don't feel like myself, which is always the aftereffect when you read a good book. When you write, you feel more like yourself, in a painful, open, broken way, but when you read you have become someone different. Or at least that's my experience. Both feelings are good, because they both give you something greater, something real.
And I just wanted the world to know that The Fault in Our Stars is beautiful. Honestly, I've never been able to stomach any of John Green's writing, even though I know he's a genius, because it's all so raw in a way that doesn't fit my morals too well. I don't live that way. I'm a romantic, an idealist, always seeking for heroicism and love and beauty and truth, in grand or in small ways. It turns out, so is Augustus Waters in The Fault in Our Stars, in kind of a far-out way, and this story is so true, it hurts. It's a cancer story, but it's not one of those stories, because it's so full of.... I don't know, philosophy and honesty and so many different views that just cut through to the core. And because at the same time it's a love story.
Yeesh. I'm embarrassed to be doing this. But maybe someday, some fan of mine will want to know my fashion taste, and I can direct them to this post. I mean, I like clothes. I have some specific interests in fashion. I like to watch What Not to Wear, although that's more for the psychology of it.
More than anything, I'm a makeup girl. I'll readily admit that. Maybe I'll do a post on that sometime. Clothing, not quite as much. Hair I have no clue about whatsoever. Anyway, for those of you curious about my taste, here are the pieces I like to use in my wardrobe:
I really like plaid. I feel like it reflects me pretty well--some craziness, some color, but also comfortable, casual organization. Plaid shirts make me feel safe, which I can't really explain. Maybe it's because these shirts originated in male fashion, which makes me feel like I'm wearing my non-existent boyfriend's shirt, which is a safe sort of thought. Some plaid shirts are simple, others are really pretty, a effeminate version of the masculine style.
Most of my plaid shirts come in purple variants, because I'm a blue/purple/black girl. Bright colors make people look at me. I don't like that very much. But if you're a bright girl, kudos to you! So much kudos. Seriously.
I've seen this idea around a lot, so I'm gonna try it. Let's see if I can list 25 things about me I haven't already told you on this blog. I feel like this is going to be splendidly difficult, given how remarkably uninhibited I am about talking about myself on here, but maybe it'll turn out really fun!
1) I don't like baby carrots but I do like the big, out of the garden ones, and even carrot sticks if I'm feeling the mood. I just don't get along with the baby form. They're too... fake, and little.
2) I plan to adopt once I get married rather than birth children, mostly because of my situation with the fibromyalgia, but also because it's a good thing to do. If extremely difficult.
3) I suffer from a condition called body dysmorphic disorder. My case has become mild enough, with the help of fibro meds and a lot of effort, that I can almost say I'm over it. I've had it since about fifth grade, and mine centers on my face, my skin, mostly. I won't go into details because it's nasty stuff, but you can look it up if you're interested. *For more information, read this post.*
4) I used to think I could actually read minds, hence a number of my book ideas. It turns out I just have a very gifted empathy, which is pretty darn close anyway. I'm almost a legit empath.
5) When I was in fourth grade, I had a phobia of bees. It all started at a Girl Scout Camp, where Attack of the Killer Bees commenced. I suffered for nearly five months after that from a severe case of melissophobia, to which I hope to never ever return, because no one should ever have to live in that state of constant panic. Ever. *For more information, read this post*
YES, MY PRETTIES! VALENTINE'S DAY IS ALMOST HERE! GUESS WHAT? THIS IS MY SECOND FAVORITE HOLIDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS!
Yeah yeah, I know. Everyone else hates it. Well too bad. *blows raspberry* I'm a romantic, and I will have my celebration.
Honestly, I've never before been in a relationship during Valentine's Day (or at all...). I love this holiday because I believe in love, not only romantically but among friends and family and the whole freaking human race. Valentine's Day to me is a celebration of that, along with all things girly, and therefore it makes me ridiculously happy. I find it necessary to wear a pretty dressy thing in either white, pink, or red, and walk around being cute and happy the whole day.
So now, you must all suffer through my tribute to Valentine's Day. MUAHAHAHA.
This is a post for you novelists out there! Writers get a lot of ideas during their lifetime, and sometimes, I'll get an idea that I try to write, only to discover that it just doesn't work for me. Maybe it's the genre, or the style, but, whatever the reason, that idea is not For Me. So then that idea is floating out there in the empty, waiting for someone to do something with it, which is quite sad, really.
As such, I thought I'd share my stray, abandoned ideas with the public, so that they can be claimed by a writer who can make them into real stories. If you'd like to adopt one of these ideas, please let us know in the comments. Feel free to make adjustments, of course! Once you claim it, it becomes your to adapt. Also, if you, as a novelist, have ideas to give up, add them in the comments ! Who knows, maybe I'll end up adopting one of your ideas. 😉
(Note: there is now a Tumblr version of this post, so check those replies and reblogs too.)
Here are my ideas that are up for adoption:
MG speculative fiction
Far from being subservient, cats are actually more intelligent than humans and were placed in human homes for their convenience. However, the cats now want to take over, and it’s up to a group of cats and children to find a way for both species to live in peace.
From the Other Side
When a relationship gone wrong forces [main character] to move to a different high school/college, she takes out her anger by becoming "the other woman", determined to break up the relationships around her. [Romantic lead], however, becomes her friend despite disagreeing with her actions, and shows her that love doesn't always have to lead to heartbreak.
You know you needed this--and I certainly do. The most terrible week in history seems determined to continue. So please enjoy your next set of humor! i'll get back to you Saturday for some of my abandoned ideas.
Why I Hate James Pat...
Hitler and Mother Ter...
The Lesser Evil: Femi...
Guest Post: 5 Fandom...
PTSD and the Hunger...
Successful People W...